Grave

Hagiwara Sakutarō

This is a grave. Melancholic in the middle of wind and rain, sad and staying silent, lonesome and lonely, the earthy lump is forever.

What’s under this grave? We don’t even think about what’s under this grave. Most likely a deep hole has been dug. So that a little bit of material – human bones, teeth, roof tiles – live together with a toad. Nothing’s there. No one’s life, mind, fame. No one who appreciates fame.

And yet look at us, why, so sadly, do we stand in front of the grave unable to step away? At any given moment in time, we believe in the nothing. The nothing remains. Our body decomposes and changes into other material. Ideology, sensitivity, emotion, that which recognizes the self, all vanish into thin air. Why would today’s common sense accommodate that – that old-fashioned – superstition of the afterlife. We should think about the afterdeath and laugh like the wind!

And yet look at us, why, so sadly, do we stand in front of the grave unable to step away? We are unlucky artists, we hang tight against adversity. We endure solitude, we have posterity in mind, we’re thinking of lasting fame. It’s all we think about. Ah, but why does a person buried inside a grave make us self-conscious? We must live on. Forget posterity. Forever in the middle of the graveyard, we can’t not stay alive.

Melancholic in the middle of wind and rain, lonely and silent for ever, the meaningless lump of earth exists. What’s under this grave? We don’t know. This is a grave! a grave!

 

Translated by Jae Kim